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Yambol and Elhovo - Out and About


The administrative centre of Yambol Municipality is Yambol city. The city lies on both banks of the River Tundzha, 37 kms north of Elhovo, 106 kms west of Bourgas, and 304 kms east of Sofia. The new border crossing with Turkey is only 60 kmsa way. Food, beverage and tobacco production are the leading industries in Yambol.

A brief history of Yambol
Traces of life in the area have been found dating back to The Neolithic, Eneolithic and Bronze Ages. Some of the artefacts that have been found here have made their way to the Louvre in Paris, whilst others are on display in Yambol’s History Museum and the Archaeological Museum in Sofia. The town began life as a Thracian settlement at Kabile (10 kms north-west of the present town), which was an important crossroad. Under Philip of Macedonia’s rule, the town became a fortress. The town was known by several names during the 11-14th centuries - Diospolis, Dianopolis, Yampolis, Dublino, Dimpolis and Hiampolis are just a few of the names!

In the early part of the 20th century, Yambol was famous for its mineral water, horse-drawn rail-tram, Zeppelin hangars, and pheasant breeding. Famous people connected with Yambol include - John Atanadsov (the inventor of the first computer), Stiliana Paraskevova (the embroiderer of the prototype Bulgarian flag), and Atanas Radev (a famous mathematician). Today, Yambol is a twin town of Villejuif in France, Berdiansk in the Ukraine, and Izhevsk in Russia.

Things to see in and around Yambol
Within the municipality there are two protected natural areas. The first is the Ormana countryside, just 2 kms from Yambol city, which is known for meadow-saffron and loddon lilies. The second is the Forestry Park on Borovets Hill.

The History Museum contains interesting displays of artefacts of the region from Neolithic times to the present day (over 100,000 exhibits are one display). The museum is located on Byalo More Str.

There are some examples of Mycenaean ceramics and clay seals on display at Drama Village, 30 kms outside of Yambol.

The St Georgi Church was built in 1737. It contains an impressive wooden iconostasis by maistors of the Debar school icon painters. A monastery school was opened in 1805. During the Russian-Turkish War the church was completely destroyed by fire, but was later restored in 1882. The church is located on St Georgi Str. in the town.

The covered market of Bezisten, in Osvobozhdenie Square, is one of the most well preserved and interesting monuments from the latter half of the 15th century. It was restored in 1970-73 and reorganised into a souvenir palace.

The Georgi Papazov Art Gallery, on Tsar Samuil Str. contains over 3,000 works of art by top Bulgarian and foreign artists. It is housed in an antique building which is interesting in itself.
Yambol also has two theatres - the Theatre of Drama, and the Muppet Theatre.

Kabile Monastery lies 6 kms away from Yambol, near the Kabile Archaeology Reserve. The monastery is named ‘The Birth of God’s Mother’, and is known for its well-kept garden with many plants and flowers. Pilgrims are drawn to the monastery’s holy spring, as it is believed it will bring them health and long life. Kabile was a prominent religious centre during the 4-5th centuries. During the reign of Emperor St Constantine the Great, there was also a monastery in the area, about 1 km away from the present day Archaeology Reserve. Legend has it that Queen Elena used to send people to fetch water from the holy spring for her. The present monastery was gradually built around the chapel, construction beginning in 1914 and finishing in 1944.
At the moment the monastery is run by a nun, and has just four other nuns living there. The monastery offers accommodation for up to 50 people.

Kabile Archaeology Reserve can be found 6 kms north of Yambol. Inside the Reserve you can find the preserved ruins of the Thracian town of Kabile. Kabile was built in the region of the Zaychi Vrah peak, which was home to a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Artemida Phosphoros. The image of the goddess can still be seen on one of the rocks at the sanctuary. During this time, the river Tundzha was still navigable, and Kabile had close contacts with the nearby town of Sevtopolis. Sevtopolis is now under the waters of the Koprinka dam!

The archaeological remains at Kabile are well worth seeing. There is a museum at the Reserve which is open from 8 am - 8 pm in the summer, and 10 am - 4 pm in the winter. There is a bus from Yambol which runs to the museum 9 times a day.

The town of Bolyarovo is located in the southern area of the Yambol District, on the slopes of the Strandzha Mountain. The south of the town forms a 55 kms long border with Turkey. The town is quite small with a population of about 500 inhabitants. It is in a beautiful area of Bulgaria.

The town of Stradldzha is located in an internationally protected area of Bulgaria. There are eleven churches in the area which have been declared as locally important cultural monuments. Many houses in the area have also been declared architectural monuents. Straldzha has an Ethnographic Museum containing many interesting artefacts and exhibits. The area is set in unspoilt countryside, and at the moment is largely untouched by tourism.